WASHING DREADLOCKS: SOME FACTS AND WHAT THEY LIKE BEST!
So in the non dreadlock world, there’s misconceptions that people with dreads DON’T wash them at all and in the dreadlocked world, some dread heads are actually doing the opposite and washing them too much, causing fluffiness, loops and bumps, weak spots and even mould build up!! So what are the best ways and best products to use to wash your dreadlocks? Read on to find out!
WHY IT'S IMPORTANT TO WAIT BEFORE IMMERSING YOUR DREADS IN WATER
I have been dreadlocking since the new millennium (year 2000) and have also had dreads for 11 years and over this time, I’ve become very aware that the biggest way to mess up, fluff up
or even ruin dreads is water immersion – Eg: getting them wet. But how much they may get messed up totally depends on how they were made in the first place and how old they are. So I’d like to
first explain a bit about different dreadlock methods and how they react to water immersion before going into ways to wash dreads…..Sorry, I am not always good at staying on topic, when there's
so many subjects I'm passionate about, but trust me, I will get to the dread washing part!
When new dreads are made with the backcomb or twist and rip method, with or without wax or chemicals, they are NOT properly locked immediately. They begin as matted strands of hair but the hair inside isn’t locked. More literally, it is matted up and squashed together in a dread (without the lock). With this method, the locking process occurs over time, with palm rolling or continued use of wax, lock peppas or other locking agents such as “loc accelerator shampoo”. If these dreads get washed or wet in the first 6 months before they are properly locked up, then they can fluff up, get messy or even come open!
If your dreads have been made with back-combing and rolling or twist and rip (or free form dreads) plus wax or locking agents then I’d recommend not wetting them for the first 2 months at all. Once you’ve palm rolled a few times a week or locked them more with a crochet hook and they’re feeling harder to squeeze and not soft or loose then washing once a month purely with a natural shampoo is about all they will need. If you want to wash more frequently then I’d wait till the 6 month mark to be sure they’re solid and then you could commence shampooing them every fortnight or each week at the most.
With my Divine Hand & Hook method, each and every hair is locked with the others to form a neat, tight, permanent dreadlock from the start. So because they are locked thoroughly, they are able to handle water immersion earlier and more frequently than dreads made without thorough crochet work.
If your dreads have been made by me or an experienced Loctician in the Divine Hand & Hook method or by another good crochet Loctician (eg: they’re tight from day 1 and don’t look fuzzy or messy or feel squishy to touch) then follow this advice:
So how long is it best to wait before washing my new dreads??
IN GENERAL I HIGHLY RECOMMEND WAITING TILL YOUR NEW DREADS ARE 1 MONTH OLD BEFORE WETTING or WASHING THEM as your dreads will be holding that tight lock on their own by that stage and there is no
risk of them loosening at all after 1 month (as long as they were locked thoroughly).
Thereafter washing or shampooing your dreads between 1 and 4 times a month is perfect. I suggest once a week for people whose lifestyle means that their dreads are getting sweaty or dirty often and as little as once a month for those who don’t get sweaty or dirty often. I created by my method and I only ever wash them once a month. And they’re never smelly, dirty, loose or fuzzy!
So what is the best shampoo to wash my dreads with?
There’s so many dreadlock washing products out there now it is getting kinda crazy and must be very confusing. I have had my hand in the dreads of more than 2000 people (I have lost count a couple of years ago) and from the experience of observation & conversation with dread heads over what people use and witnessing the result, I can confidently say….
…. THE BEST PRODUCT TO USE TO WASH DREADS is simply using a good quality, ideally organic or 100% NATURAL shampoo. For dreads, this can come in liquid or bloc form. I used an organic shampoo by Natural Instinct for years but then I discovered a natural bloc shampoo and myself and many of my clients we way prefer using a shampoo “Loc Bloc” over liquid shampoo because it is way easier to disperse through your dreads and you end up using less. You just hold the bar in your hands and run it over your dreadlocks from root to tip. Whereas with liquid shampoo you’ll need to fill your hand up about 4 or 5 times using an 1/6 of a 250g bottle each time and this can get costly.
I was against selling products for a long time because my method ethos is “100% naturally created dreads that DON’T need products”. Even though I was referring to NOT needing products for the locking process, but I wasn’t into selling so I transferred the ethos to all products! After clients began asking me if I had anything they could use to wash their dreads with (and one mentioned that it would help them save money on shopping elsewhere) I searched amongst my local artisans and discovered an amazing all natural, totally vegan Lemon Myrtle and Macadamia Bloc. I tried it for 6 months before deciding to stock it in my Divine Dreadlocks shop under Care products.
The Lemon Myrtle & Macadamia Shampoo Bloc is perfect for easy washing & saving money! It smells very fresh and lemony, is made from pure natural ingredients all sourced in Australia, it’s not tested on animals and contains no animal products at all so it is vegan friendly! The lemon myrtle is refreshing on the scalp, anti bacterial and also adds a tightening factor to your dreadlocks. The macadamia is slightly conditioning to prevent your dreads getting dry or brittle. I love it and my clients do too!
I’ve used it for about 6 years now and I have ditched all other natural shampoos. To be honest, I think this is the only dread shampoo or washing product you’ll ever need!
Also if you want to do a deep cleanse on your dreadlocks, which is great to do about once or twice a year, then you can’t go wrong with a handmade apple cider vinegar and bi-carb of soda soak.
HOW TO DO A DEEP DREADLOCK CLEANSE WITH APPLE CIDER VINEGAR & BI-CARB OF SODA
It’s best to make up a batch of Bicarb Soda and Apple Cider vinegar with your favourite essential oils in a low tub and lean back on a rolled up towel on the floor. It also helps to have someone else help you to place your dreadlocks gently into it, especially if they’re long.
For the full apple cider vinegar and bicarb of soda dread shampoo recipe click here. This is from Raging Roots Studio in USA. They also only specialise in excellent natural hook dreadlock work too. I would alter this method slightly and let your dreads soak for 15-20 minutes, instead of their suggested 3-5 minutes as this will give a really good deep cleanse & allow any dirt to be extracted from within your dreads. But if you only have 3-5 minutes then it will still help! After rinsing fully in the shower to get out all the solution. This is a wonderful, cheap and natural way to do a deep cleanse once or twice a year.
ENJOY BUSTING THE “DREADS ARE SMELLY” MYTH by using some of these lovely dread washing techniques and products!